Charles Oakley is jumping into the fray, empathizing with New York Knicks super fan Spike Lee after his dispute with the organization over using a proper entrance to Madison Square Garden boiled over Tuesday.
Oakley has his own issues with Knicks owner Jim Dolan and Madison Square Garden after getting arrested in 2017 for an altercation at MSG. It was only last month his lawsuit was dismissed.
Oakley: NBA needs to look at Knicks
Oakley wants the NBA to look at the Knicks antics after its latest public relations blunder.
“It’s got to be stopped in some kind of way,” Oakley said, via The Associated Press. “The NBA has got to take a look at this. You can’t keep closing your eyes to this. This is like, turn your head if you see someone beat somebody up and you just keep walking. It just keeps happening in New York.
“People are not going to come here because it’s the same thing over and over and over. They got a new president and all everyone is talking about what happened between Spike Lee and the Garden.”
Lee was denied entry to the arena at the media entrance and asked to go through the celebrity doors, even though Lee said he has been using the same entrance for decades. The team responded on Twitter, complete with photos attempting to explain its side of the story. It was the first night on the job for president Leon Rose.
Oakley, 57, said he doesn’t believe even former President Barack Obama can fix the situation with the Knicks.
Oakley calls Dolan ‘control freak’
Oakley also spoke about the situation with Lee on ESPN’s Golic and Wingo show on Wednesday morning. He placed the blame on Dolan. Via ESPN:
"What is this man's problem about control? He's so much a control freak. And he's hurting the whole NBA," Oakley said. "If I'm an owner in the NBA, this guy headlines every other month, every other week, with something that don't have nothing to do with winning. It's got to do with individuals, people's life. We shouldn't be going through this."
Oakley said he wasn’t surprised at the situation.
"It's a plantation over there. It's bad," Oakley told Golic and Wingo. "People don't want to talk about it. It's real bad over there.”
What happened with Oakley and the Knicks?
In being denied by security, Lee mentioned Oakley
“You want to arrest me like Charles Oakley?” he said, referring to the 2017 incident involving the Knicks former center.
Oakley was sitting near Dolan at a game on Feb. 8, 2017, and was approached by security soon after arriving. A scuffle ensued and the owner and team implied the former star had an alcohol problem.
Oakley filed a lawsuit against Dolan and MSG alleging assault, battery and false imprisonment, as well as defamation. The suit was dismissed with Manhattan Judge Richard J. Sullivan saying it “had the feel of a public relations campaign.” After the decision, MSG called for “peace between us.”
"There should have been peace anyway," Oakley told the AP. "I played there 10 years. Show me some respect. They keep disrespecting me. I feel sorry for the people who stuff keeps happening to. It's just not right."
He plans to appeal.
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